ADHD is BS Video – Fact Check

During our ADHD is BS mockumentary Professor Chip Cash (played by Peter Rowsthorn) made the following “italicised statements”:

“There are 18 behavioural criteria used to diagnose ADHD. They include, disliking schoolwork or homework, losing things, being easily distracted, fidgeting, climbing excessively, playing too loudly, talking excessively and having difficulty awaiting turn and interrupting…The diagnosed ADHD child displays at least six of these behaviours… not just occasionally but often.”

Fact Check – Absurd but True: Disliking homework, playing loudly and fidgeting etc. are the diagnostic criteria for ADHD outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM5).  For more information see How is ADHD Diagnosed?

“We cannot detect ADHD through blood tests or scanning.”

Fact Check – True: The diagnosis of ADHD is based on third party reports of a child’s behaviour, as ‘there are no laboratory tests, neurobiological assessments, or attentional assessments that have been established as diagnostic in the clinical assessment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”[1] and “no biological marker is diagnostic for ADHD.”[2]

“Methamphetamine…brand name Desoxyn… is a very, very useful in the control of ADHD.”

Fact Check – Unbelievable but TrueDesoxyn® (methamphetamine hydrochloride) Prescribing Information Leaflet states DESOXYN tablets are “indicated as an integral part of a total treatment program [for ADHD] which typically includes other remedial measures (psychological, educational, social) for a stabilizing effect in children over 6 years of age.”

“Some children do want to kill themselves when they take Strattera.”

Fact Check – Very Sad but True: Strattera’s prescribing information contains a ‘boxed warning’ (the highest warning) for suicidality. There has been a string of horrific suicide and self-harm related side effects amongst children since Strattera came on the Australian market in 2004. For more details see Strattera’s Sad Story.  

“These very sick children [sick with ADHD] risk very unhappy futures… academic failure… divorce…unemployment…drug abuse…. Research shows that many of todays’ drug abusers were unmedicated ADHD sufferers.”

Fact Check – False but frequently claimed by the ADHD Industry: Retrospectively diagnosing ADHD in dysfunctional groups like criminals and drug abuse is a neat trick. It is the equivalent of being able to bet on a horse after the race has finished. Nonetheless there are countless studies that claim to show untreated childhood ADHD is associated with future poor life outcomes Including academic failure, divorce, unemployment and drug abuse. Examples include:

Even when ADHD is diagnosed in childhood implying ADHD causes dysfunctional behaviour is absurd. ADHD is really just a collection of loosely defined behavioural symptoms, is mistakenly regarded as the biological cause. Psychologist and Professor Emeritus at California State University, David Keirsey, criticises the circularity of the argument stating, ‘It’s preposterous to say that the symptoms of attention deficit cause the deficit of attention.’[4] In other words it is absurd to say ADHD causes ADHD.

Please view ADHD amphetamine addiction and abuse for further details on the potential for ADHD drugs to be abused.

The narrator said “There are risks from medications – including Suicide, Strokes and Psychosis. (also: Addiction, Anorexia, Blurred Vision, Dizziness, Growth Retardation, Headache, Heart Attack, Hypertension, Insomnia, Liver Damage, Palpitations and Seizures).”

Fact Check – True: However, the above is not a full set of potential adverse side effects. For complete information see the Product Information Leaflets for:

Ritalin (active ingredient methylphenidate)

Dexedrine (active ingredient dexamphetamine or dextroamphetamine)

Concerta (active ingredient methylphenidate)

Adderall (active ingredients dexamphetamine and other forms of amphetamine)

Strattera (active ingredient atomoxetine)

Vyvanese (active ingredient lysine-dexamphetamine)


[1] American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth Edition, Text Revised (DSM-IV), (American Psychiatric Association: Washington, D.C., 2000): pp 88-89

[2] American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth Edition, (American Psychiatric Association: Washington, D.C., 2013): p 61

[3] Hennessey K (et al), Childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Substance Use, and Adult Functioning Among Incarcerated Women, Journal of Attentional Disorders 2010 Nov; 14(3): 273–280.

[4]    David Keirsey, ‘The Great A.D.D. Hoax’ at, n.d., (accessed 20 March 2008).